FROM THE ARCHIVES: CORY KENNEDY
from the archives.
photographed by MICK ROCK. styled by NI’MA FORD. written by RACHEL ELEANOR SUTTON. makeup ALEX ALMEIDA. hair SHIRLEY HANKO HAGEL. photographer’s assistant CODY SMYTH
& DEAN HOLTERMANN. coordination FERAL CAT PRODUCTIONS
Cory Kennedy breezed into the SHK cover shoot… Unkempt, bleach blonde hair. An observable flair for vintage ’70s-esque style. An honestlry refreshing “I’ll give it but I’ll take it, too” attitude. You see, Miss Kennedy is considered — sorry, please excuse this cringeworth word — a Downtown It Girl. Within the industry, the term has morphed into defining socially apt gals in the scene that check off (at least) one of these boxes: Fashion Impresario / DJ / Host / Face of Blabla / Friends of Blabla / Muse of Blabla / Et cetera. I know, I know. Whatever. OK sure… Cory certainly checks off some of those boxes, but an It girl stamp has little to do with my interest in Cory as the cover personality for this edition of SHK.
When I asked Cory about her thoughts on the epithet, she casually laughed. “It’s silly to me. No one knows that the expression came from an older silent film It starring Clara Bow,” said Cory. “Now it’s all about socialites and fortunate kids of famous parents. It’s hard to find ‘real deal’ It girls since the term has been blown to pieces. But they are out there. You just need to look.”
BIG PARK pants
Talent’s own T-shirt & boots
As a member of the first generation of teenagers forced to mold from N2 pencils to keyboards, I remember a time before high-heeled bloggers lined front rows and the power of the Internet still boggled minds. Enter: Cory Kennedy. It was 2005. The 16-year-old hit up the El Ray Theatre for a Blood Brothers show. So did Mark Hunter (The Cobrasnake). Taken aback by Cory’s unposed nature and interesting, leisure-oriented style, Mark flashed his lens and thus marked the beginning of this California-born girl’s upswing into the international fashion world’s consciousness.
In lieu of persona modification management and famous parental guidance, Cory gained insta’fame. Let’s not forget, this was fucking weird at the time. Seemingly overnight, a suburban, teenage girl was being awed, questioned and requested from around the world. Side note: Google “Internet It Girl,” and Cory still pops up — maybe, she’s the only one that ever will? (Obviously, the web quickly became an implied notion rather than a notable point of description.)
For Cory, it doesn’t really matter what outsider labels she’s acquired or how much hype has come and gone. Miss Kennedy isn’t the type of person to do things because it might get her somewhere. Rather, she gets where she is because of the things she does. She’s unashamedly fought personal battles, but never grappled with identity. She’s symbolic of a cultural shift, but is refreshingly aware of the fact that acclaim doesn’t equal integrity. She’s worked for what she has. She’s interesting, but relatable. And those, my friends, are just a few of the reasons we’re psyched to feature Cory Kennedy as our current cover girl. (Oh, and Cory’s also extremely fun to be around, even if you’re drinking water). Lately, the newly blonde, NYC-based perpetrator is busy honing her crafts, which range from photography to DJing to writing and then some. We hung out with Cory on set in Williamsburg with photographer Mick Rock and chatted about fashion (duh), growing up and how to keep calm despite the speed at which this insane industry moves.
SHK: FROM ONE FASHION WRITER TO ANOTHER, DO YOU HAVE A REALLY ANNOYING FASHION QUESTION YOU DON’T ENJOY GETTING ASKED DURING INTERVIEWS? YOU KNOW, SUCH AS… SAY, “WHAT ERA WOULD YOU LIVE IN IF YOU DIDN’T LIVE IN THIS ONE?”
CORY KENNEDY: Yes! “So what are you doing next?” It’s just like, “Well, next I’m going to get some water and eat a sandwich.” Obviously, I know what they’re asking, but being in this business for something, like, eight years now, I’ve learned a lot through mistakes and what this business is really like. You could have a huge ad campaign one day, and then the next, you don’t — because they changed their minds and went with someone else. I take everyday “one day at a time” now. Expectations are very low because this happens constantly, and mentally you can’t handle all of the ups and downs. Keeping it nonchalant in your brain is what you need to do, especially in New York City, regardless if you’re about to get a call sheet for the next day… You never know.
DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE A PARTICULAR LOOK OR “UNIFORM” OF THE MOMENT YOU FIND YOURSELF CONSTANTLY DRAWN TO?
My uniform has never really changed, ever. I never went through a gothic or preppy phase; growing up I was always just me — jeans and a T-shirt with high top Converse, all about comfort. Getting older I’ve decided yes, of course still comfort, but I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with clothing and my personality, which I still do, regardless of all the fashion magazines I’ve studied. Obviously, what has happened to me, growing up and being in the business I’m in, is getting to wear looks off the runway. Tons of clothes. All of the perks. But I’ve never let the clothing wear me. I’ve been in positions where I would have to go to a gala straight from work and they picked the dress, and I was not about to go do a step and repeat in a tight sequin dress and a standard handbag. So, there I am in some garden in the middle of winter pulling flowers to make a broach or something in my hair, and making it my own, being comfortable in my shoes (no heels ever, but I still have to wear them). Also, knowing what’s best for me and ignoring a friends opinion.
WHAT GRABS YOUR ATTENTION WHEN IT COMES TO DISCOVERING NEW DESIGNERS, BRANDS, OR JUST AWESOME SHIT?
Now, it’s about detail and shape. I find anyone can make a chiffon printed dress. Yes, it’s pretty, but is it new and creative? Absolutely not. That’s why I’ve narrowed down shows to go to during fashion week because some will always be the same things every season in a new color or fabric.
I also love weird pieces and making them look cool. There’s a French designer I’ve always looked up to for her ballsy pieces, I’m pretty sure she stopped designing her line, Burfitt by Lovisa Burfitt. We need more of that! There are some very talented small designers in London, but need support. Unfortunately, in this financial crisis we’ve been going through, there really isn’t money for the creative (not just in fashion, but everywhere) anymore. People want to know their money is going to some designer that will do the job, taking no risks. I haven’t seen anything new on a runway in years aside from Isabel Marant and her wedge sneakers. That was completely new and never been done before in fashion. Now you see every designer has ripped her off and the people buying the shoes don’t even know the history of them. And, Chinatown is awesome! I go into the 99-cent stores and find incredible weird things that I end up wearing and you’d never know.
…GOALS FOR 2014?
Kill it with my professional new wave and having everything in order. I think this year will rock my socks off.
WHAT ARE YOU HAPPY DOING ON YOUR DAYS OFF?
My cat, Seamless delivery and Netflix.
SINCE YOU FIRST SHOT TO FAME BACK IN THE COBRASNAKE DAYS, YOU’VE ACCOMPLISHED SO MUCH ON YOUR OWN TERMS AS A FASHION INFLUENCER, WRITER, DJ, HOST, MODEL… DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR ORIGINAL ADVOCATES/FANS FROM THE VERY BEGINNING HAVE GROWN WITH YOU TO THIS POINT IN YOUR LIFE TODAY?
Yes, I know some still support me because I see their comments on Instagram or Twitter or my blog. Then some people rant about how much cooler I was and how I dressed better and had a different personality. I don’t think they’ve considered that I’ve grown up and I’m not a partying teenager anymore — change of lifestyle, a way at looking at the world, my career, and all of that fun stuff that grows along with time. I do dress more sophisticated however, because I want to and feel like doing that in my own way (which you can see my personality still shines through). I also changed my hair to platinum blonde; a lot of people hated that. But I’m that same girl they saw with The Cobrasnake, it’s just called growing up. A part of me does feel like I’m letting them down, but changing is what life is all about. I’m sure if they read this they would look at their opinion much more differently.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE TAKE AWAY FROM YOU, CORY KENNEDY, A FASHION/STYLE INFLUENCER WHO HAS BEEN IN THE MEDIA’S EYE FOR OVER A DECADE? WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO STAY INVOLVED IN THE LIFESTYLE?
People have been messaging me for years about how I’ve changed their life in so many ways, which I’m still getting used to. I’m 23 and I’ve been changing people’s lives already? It’s a crazy position to be in, but I’m thankful I’ve helped and touched people whichever way they take it in. People also message me constantly on how to wear this or how to wear that… And I always say go with what you feel is comfortable, and when I say comfortable, I mean it mentally as well. I am not you. You are you. What do YOU like?
risk takers — do it. Who cares what people think of your outfit, you’re just going to wear another one tomorrow.) It takes a lot to stay inspired in this lifestyle at the moment, but I have so many ideas of things to start or collaborate on; so many things constantly on my mind. I just can’t see myself living any other way. I want to make a difference in the world somehow, and I already have a jumpstarted resume. Hopefully, the next time we speak, I’ll be able to tell you what’s been happening.
HOW WOULD YOU SAY YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
Drastically. When I was younger it was all about fun, little did I know my fun times would turn into a career. I’ve made some bad mistakes, but I was a kid with no guidance. I’ve cleaned up my act over the last two years and in turn, my life became my profession. Most people will think, “Yeah, getting dressed and going to events with famous people, so hard, poor Cory,” but that’s part of the job I do. And don’t even get me started on the social media aspect. Yes, it’s stressful and living in New York City freelance isn’t always stable — mentally, money wise, etc. But, I’ve only grown stronger and wiser. [Laughs] I’m a professional life liver.
HOW HAS YOUR APPROACH TO STYLE AND MUSIC CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
Becoming less sloppy and more adult. I still think I have the same style and still take risks, but more so when I’m having fun. When I’m in my room (a.k.a my closet) I feel like an artist picking and choosing and thinking. It has never been difficult to get dressed for anything; it’s more like expanding my creative horizon. Music hasn’t really changed except more appreciation in Jazz. Still love everything I did when I was 13, except for my love of bass. How it carries a song. Sometimes you can hardly hear it, but if it’s gone, that same song is entirely different. My knowledge in music is always escalating.
YOU TAKE SUCH INTERESTING/AWESOME IMAGES… DO YOU HAVE A GO-TO CAMERA? WOULD YOU CONSIDER PERUSING PHOTOGRAPHY ON A LARGER LEVEL? HEY! WANNA SHOOT SOME STUFF FOR SHK?
Well thank you, I always have a film camera (point and shoot) with me no matter what. I’ve shot some things for Helmut Lang, and little do people know, but I’ve had my photos in The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Pretty proud of that. I definitely would love to raise the bar because I know I have an eye (not to sound cocky). Also, on a level of just art direction —which I usually do myself on shoots— is great… I’d be able to style, art direct and photograph the shoot. Not hair and makeup though because I’m no good. I would be so honored to shoot for SHK because I truly believe in this magazine and it’s been “the something missing” in the magazine line up for a while now. I absolutely love it. Let’s do it!
DO YOU HAVE ANY “LIFE MOTTOS?”
Breathe, which I always forget. Take one day at a time.
CURRENTLY, WHAT DO YOU FIND YOURSELF MOST INTO (I.E. WRITING, HOSTING, DJING… ) AND WHY?
I’ve been writing a lot lately, and soon to start for NME! DJing and hosting too, as well as shooting. If I could work everyday I would; working is what makes me truly happy.
THIS IS OUR GREED ISSUE, AS IN, CELEBRATING THOSE MOMENTS WHEN WE DESERVE TO BE SELFISH. WHAT IS THAT MOMENT FOR YOU?
When I land a big gig! But not something crazy, usually something for my apartment and the rest I save… And, desserts always. I can’t deprive myself of them. I am greedy though, always have been, but living on your own dime kind of destroys that trait.
TELL US ONE THING WE SHOULD:
SEE: Damages, and Scandal TV series. I promise they won’t let you down.
HEAR: The new Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon CDs
KNOW: This magazine is going places, I promise you that. I know magazines like the back of my hand. And this is straight to success. And I’m single again. And come to Electric Room in NYC every Tuesday because that’s where I’ve been hosting the best party.